While working as the executive director of the sexual assault centre in North Bay, I suspected that I was seeing some human trafficking happening in my community. I wanted to set up some specialized programming for people who had been trafficked, but needed to learn more about what their needs were, and how to best respond. I contacted Dr. Rosemary Nagy at Nipissing University for some help, and together, we created NORAHT: a research alliance that included membership from the Anishinabek Nation: Union of Ontario Indians, the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area and Nipissing University. Seven years later, we have completed numerous research trips across Northeastern Ontario (Anishinabek and Mushkegowuk territories) gathering information, speaking and learning from other service providers, people with lived experience and families, and sex work peer professionals.
Our goal was to identify gaps to service provision, and do our best to help fill some of those gaps.
During the 7 years of this research, I had left the sexual assault centre, but stayed on with this research project as a consultant. As a consultant, there were a number of outputs that I, and my main research partner, Gina Snooks (PhD candidate, and research assistant) and I developed with this project. Our research was guided according to Anishinabek tradition and teachings by Elder Donna Debassige, Anishinaabe-kwe of the Fish Clan from MnidooMnising (Manitoulin Island).
This webinar was delivered in the fall of 2019 to an international audience of over 1800 registrants. There were registrants from a wide variety of service organizations: gender-based violence sector; policing and the RCMP; street out-reach programs; academic institutions; and even some peer professionals and people with lived experience. In this webinar, Gina and I described the importance of Trauma and Violence informed approaches to human trafficking in service provision as well as some thoughts on how to set up programming and what to do/avoid with service provision.
The webinar was a success and we were asked to follow up with a more concrete "how-to" resource for people who wanted to develop their own trauma and violence informed lens. We responded with the development of this workbook:
Finally, it was important to me that we had some messaging for the general public, to help dispel some of the myths associated with the issue, as well as to understand how human trafficking is supported by racism, inequality and exclusion. I wanted our communities to understand that they can play a part in preventing human trafficking, as well as ways that they can get involved.
We have many other outputs related to this research on our NORAHT website: